Shock exit for Ana Ivanovic
Defending champion Ana Ivanovic crashed out of the French Open today as she lost in straight sets to Victoria Azarenko.
Eighth seed Ivanovic, who beat Safina in last year's final, stumbled to a 6-2 6-3 defeat to Belarus' Victoria Azarenka hours after the top seed had dropped just one game in her comprehensive thrashing of French hope Aravane Rezai.
Ivanovic admitted she did not feel 100% as her title defence ended on Suzanne Lenglen court.
"I started really well and felt good in the beginning but after the first point of the fourth game, I just started feeling so dizzy and I completely lost my balance," said the Serbian.
"After that, it was really hard. I struggled with looking up. But she played well."
Ivanovic tipped Azarenka, the ninth seed, as a contender for the crown but it is hard to look further than Safina, who she will meet next.
The Russian has dropped just five games in her remorseless march to the quarter-finals and was again in imperious form in her 6-1 6-0 triumph over Rezai.
"I'm feeling very good right now," said the world number one, who swept to victory in less than an hour on Philippe Chatrier court.
"I'm trying to be very professional and not waste energy. I think this is something new to me - before I would maybe just go out there and play and waste my energy.
"No free points, no stupid mistakes. I'm just playing point by point."
Rezai won last week's tournament in Strasbourg and had only dropped one set on the way to the fourth round, but she was powerless to prevent Safina easing to victory.
"I didn't feel helpless and I didn't think it was impossible to defeat her, but she is the world number one and she deserves that ranking," said the 22-year-old from St Etienne.
"I wasn't capable of finding the solutions to put her in a difficult position. I didn't play well."
Azarenka knows she will be up against it when she plays Safina on Tuesday.
"She has been killing people so far. I need to play my best tennis to beat her," she said.
Maria Sharapova fought back from 4-2 down in the third set to oust 25th seed Na Li and set up a last-eight meeting with Dominika Cibulkova.
Former world number one Sharapova, who has slipped to 102 in the rankings after a long spell out with shoulder trouble, won 6-4 0-6 6-4 over the Chinese, despite struggling with cramp to her left thigh in the latter stages.
Sharapova needs the Roland Garros crown to complete her haul of grand slam titles.
Twentieth seed Cibulkova was the first player into the last eight, the Slovakian a convincing 6-2 6-4 winner over 29th seed Agnes Szavay, who dumped out third seed Venus Williams in the previous round.
Cibulkova looked a bag of nerves as she clinched victory on her third match point to reach her first grand slam quarter-final.
"I got so tight because I wanted to win so badly," she said.